For each of our reviews we try to sift through the hype and give you our honest feedback on products before you shell out your hard earned cash on something you’ve never tried before. First up in our REVIEW series is Autobahn Wheel Co’s AB-S series wheel in 56mm.
The AB-S wheel is one of Autobahn’s flagship lines and comes in a 99a durometer pour of their AB-S SuperPerformance urethane in what they term a “slim shape.” The AB-S series comes in a variety of sizes, with 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 56, and 59mm and also in a Limited Edition 52.5 mm diameter. You’ll pretty much be able to find your choice in size of wheel, sans problem.
Dimensions and characteristics
We tried the AB-S in 56mm, and the relevant wheel dimensions/characteristics are as follows:
Riding surface (width): 18.5mm
Wheel width: 29.5mm
Most wheel durometers nowadays typically fall in the 99a-101a range on the A scale or 80b-83b on the B scale. Without going into a debate on the usefulness and appropriateness of each scale, the harder the wheel, the higher the rebound which gives a generally faster wheel as momentum is better maintained as the wheel rolls(less energy lost due to structural deformations) but is usually accompanied by a more “bumpy” ride on rough surfaces. Softer wheels are typically grippier (although certain brands also have some harder wheels which have above average grip for their high durometers), and also give a smoother ride over rougher terrain, but as a consequence tend to be slower, and can tend to compress a bit more on landings(mush out), so rolling away from tricks may require a bit more effort.
We rode these 56mm AB-S in the streets, on slippery concrete skate plazas and also in various concrete bowls. Here’s how we rated the wheels(10 being the best, and 1 being the worst):
Speed: 9 out of 10
Speed retention for its durometer: 10 out of 10 (this gauges whether the wheel feels fast/slow for its durometer)
Durability: 10 out of 10
Grip: 9 out of 10
Flatspot resistance: 9 out of 10
We definitely liked these wheels and skated them for a total of 18 months(yes, you read that right). And after all the abuse we threw at them, the 56mm wheels had amazingly only worn down to 52.5mm. Trust us when we tell you that we’d ridden them on some really rough streets while street skating. They were fast, predictable on the slide, and didn’t seem to slip out on sharp carves and turns even in slippery skateparks. They’ve kept their speed throughout this entire time, and haven’t given us any real problems with flatspots from powerslides or various slides on ledges. These wheels were definitely also pretty grippy when we tried frontside ollies on slick quarterpipes and dusty street plazas (we originally picked these wheels up specifically to skate slippery skate plazas), and also slid when you needed them on nose and tailslides. The wheels also worked really well in slicker bowls so if you’re looking for a lightweight, slimmer transition wheel, these might be worth considering. The crazy thing is these wheels are still going strong, and we actually picked up another set(see picture below)! We’re really amazed at how long these wheels have lasted after more than 300 hours of skating. These wheels are awesome, and definitely get the thumbs up from us!